Bill Powers' way.

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.0405 MDT)]

Bill Williams 4 June 2004 9:25 AM CST -
Bruce Nevin (06.03.2004 16:04 EDT) -
Martin Taylor 2004.06.04.17.41 -
and others not so recently, but similarly, involved in dicussing PCT.

I think that the basic ideas behind PCT, with respect to which I am only an
organizer and spokeman, not the inventor, are being lost as those with
other interests struggle to preserve the validity of their own fields of
expertise. I won't say that this is understandable, because my acquaintance
with the membership of the CSG does not offer me any explanations
consistent with what I see as the intelligence and accomplishments of the
people in this group. What I see is not mainly a group of people fired with
inspiration by the first new conception of human organization in many
centuries and working in concert to explore and develop it, but a set of
representatives of diverse older points of view who are doing their best to
prevent PCT from making any major alterations in what they know and how
they go about knowing. In principle this may be understandable, but knowing
the people involved I find it astonishing and inexplicable.

Before any new approach can be used to develop a new field from first
principles, all committment to other approaches must be discarded
completely. Any vestige of loyalty to older ideas, any desire to defend
previous accomplishments, any respect for history or persons or knowledge
or deisciplines with names, must be put aside to the extent humanly and
practically possible. Why? Because such things create biases that blind us
to the real implications of the new idea. If we're always trying to look
ahead to make sure our reasoning isn't going to jeapordize some idea we
consider precious, we will not be able to reason clearly. If we reject
conclusions simply because they differ from received wisdom or our own
beliefs, we will abort lines of reasoning that are perfectly valid. If we
see the new idea mainly as a way of validating, at last, older ideas of our
own that we have had trouble persuading others to accept, we will pick and
choose what suits us and discard what doesn't, and destroy the idea.

Why should anyone who has confidence in some existing bit of knowledge or
reasoning fear discarding it and starting over from a new set of first
principles? If there is anything to the knowledge or reasoning, it will
show up again, only this time supported by a more completely worked-out
system. And if that doesn't happen, we will be much better off than to
continue to preserve ideas without foundations..Research with PCT has much
to teach us, but before that can happen we have to unlearn what we thought
we knew. As I say, if there is anything of value in what we thus discard,
we will get it back in the end, with generous interest. But until we let
go, we will only cripple ourselves and pull the teeth of PCT.

Is PCT a "new approach":or is it a new foundation? If it's only a new
approach, then whatever is useful about it can be absorbed selectively into
older fields where it will become subordinate and disappear among all the
other tools. But if it's a new foundation, then absorbing it selectively
will filter out that which is new and leave only the status quo, unperturbed.

I say that PCT is a new foundation. It is based on methods new to the life
sciences (save for a few pockets of enlightenment) and to apply those
methods requires learning skills new to most life scientists . Computer
modeling using principles worked out by engineers is the furthest advanced
technologically, but its scope is limited by our lack of understanding of
how perceptions are generated in the brain. Other forms of modeling, just
as rigorous, can probably be worked out, but little work on that is
happening now. If we want to use PCT as a set of first principles, we have
to develop the appropriate methodology for building and testing models, and
apply it systematically to build from the known into the unknown.

But first we must free ourselves of committments to older ideas, regardless
of their apparent worth and value. If they really are worth something and
provide some sort of value, they will be back some day. But we have to stop
caring whether that happens, and set foot on the new path without trying to
guess where other trails might have ended up, if anywhere.

I think this is a reasonable and responsible way to conduct a revolution.
We don't have to destroy anything or claim that other ideas are wrong. We
don't have to claim there is nothing of value already on the books. We can
simply assure those who become alarmed that anything of real value will
surface again in its proper place, when developments have gone far enough.
And to those who may doubt the value of many current ideas, we can say that
ideas without justification in first principles will probably submerge for
good, and good riddance.

I think this manifesto will separate the revolutionaries from the
conservatives, so to speak. Anyone who values preserving existing methods
and knowledge more than creating a new discipline is welcome to follow that
path, wherever it leads -- and to do it somewhere else. See you later, if
we arrive at the same place. The rest of us, if that turns out to be
plural, will support, encourage, and pursue the revolution and let the
chips fall where they may. Of course if you want to stay on CSGnet to mount
the defense of things past, the rest of us will go somewhere else.
Bandwidth is bandwidth, whatever it is called.

Whatever the readers of this post may decide, I have chosen my path. Now
all I how to do is stay on it.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.0405 MDT)]

Bill Williams 4 June 2004 9:25 AM CST -
Bruce Nevin (06.03.2004 16:04 EDT) -
Martin Taylor 2004.06.04.17.41 -
and others not so recently, but similarly, involved in dicussing PCT.

I think that the basic ideas behind PCT, with respect to which I am only an
organizer and spokeman, not the inventor, are being lost as those with
other interests struggle to preserve the validity of their own fields of
expertise.

....

In principle this may be understandable, but knowing
the people involved I find it astonishing and inexplicable.

Perhaps it might be a good idea actually to look at where the ideas
that concern you actually come from, and to ask whether your
perception of where they might come from isn't more imagination than
data-based.

Whatever the readers of this post may decide, I have chosen my path. Now
all I how to do is stay on it.

Good. Now let me say how I perceive what I have been trying to do.

My starting position is that individual "persons" are perceptual
control structures, and that the actions they use to control their
perceptions evolve to be effective. I also need the concept of
intrinsic variables, to drive the evolution of the PCT structure. In
essence, that's ALL I need in order to develop the concepts of
cultural artifacts. I don't start from any preconceived notion that
requires a distortion of PCT, and I don't even require that classic
HPCT be either accepted or rejected as a model of the PCT structure.

I look at what happens when a second individual is part of the
environment of the one under consideration. I recognize that if B is
in the perceptual environment of A, then A is likely to be in the
perceptual environment of B. Likewise for C, D, ..., Z. Suppose A is
a newborn. A key intrinsic variable is affected by being fed. If baby
A randomly does action X (say "crying") and gets fed by mother, baby
A is more likely to do action X the next time.

Now look at it from mother's point of view. Mother, for some reason,
controls a perception with a reference that the baby should not be
crying. One action that sometimes brings that perception to its
reference value is to feed baby. Other times, other actions have the
same effect (changing the diaper, for example). If the perception is
"crying + baby clean", then feeding is likely to be an action that
brings it to "not crying and baby clean", whereas if the perception
is "crying and baby dirty", the the more probable action is "change
diaper."

Back to baby. Baby doesn't necessarily act differently for the two
conditions, but perhaps random variations in the nature of the crying
occur, one of which results in mother checking the diaper first, the
other of which results in mother trying feeding first. If those
differences are sufficiently distinct, then baby may have come to
distinguish two different outputs that serve to control two different
perceptions--call them "hungry" and "uncomfortable." Baby has started
to acquire language.

We don't have to talk about baby's first discrimination. We can talk
about the interactions of well formed PCT structures that interact.
Consider the rubber-band demo. A and B hold the two ends of the
knotted bands, and B is controlling for keeping the knot over the
mark. A is controlling for perceiving B to forge A's signature. A
simply writes his own signature, and B follows suit. Counter-control.
But if B also controls for NOT writing A's signature, B has a
conflict between control of two perceptions. It is not possible for B
to keep the knot on the mark while failing to write A's signature.

Change the perception A relies on to get B to perform certain
actions. Suppose A believes B to be controlling a perception that A
will like B. Now A wants a pen that is in B's reach but not in A's. A
can use counter-control, by letting B know that A would like the pen
(using body language, words, or whatever, as the means whereby B can
make that perception). One way for B to influence the perception that
A likes him is to give A the pen. Provided that B is not controlling
any peception that incorporates A not having the pen, there is no
conflict, and B can control his perception of A's attitude while A is
controlling his perception of holding the pen.

Now we make this counter-control operation a bit more general.
Suppose that instead of A and B, we have a whole lot of people. If A
interacting with B can make an assumption about something B is
controlling, as above, and can make the same kind of assumption when
interacting with C, D, ..., Z, A will in general be more successful
in controlling his perceptions than if A has to make different
assumptions about each one, randomly. Being able to make those
similar assumptions is what constitutes A's membership in a cultural
group that includes B, C, ..., Z.

Just as the evolution of control actions within an individual allows
the development of quite complex control systems (we call this
"reorganization, when we limit ourselves to HPCT), because such
systems allow better control than does a random organization, so
also, and by the same mechanism, should we expect cultural structures
to develop through the assumption of similar counter-control "nexis
perceptions" by the individuals of the culture.

···

-----------------------

Now I ask you, where in this do you find that "the basic ideas behind
PCT are being lost as those with other interests [among whom you
specifically name me] struggle to preserve the validity of their own
fields of expertise."

Where, indeed? Other than in your own imagination and expectations?

Martin

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.1027 MDT)]

Bill Powers (2004.06.08.0405 MDT)--

Now I ask you, where in this do you find that "the basic ideas behind
PCT are being lost as those with other interests [among whom you
specifically name me] struggle to preserve the validity of their own
fields of expertise."

Where, indeed? Other than in your own imagination and expectations?

Martin, I have the highest regard for your intelligence, your knowledge of
PCT, your skills both scientific and social, and even -- when the rare
example appears -- your modeling. But the discussion in this post is
storytelling, not modeling, and it is concerned with matters that are out
of our reach for now. If you want to speculate about them, that's your
right, but it doesn't do anything to get a new discipline going. You've
told me before that you prefer the top-down approach; in my opinion that is
not what we need. But I don't mean to close out any approaches -- only to
say that I am not going to follow that route, and am interested primarily
in those who, like me, want to start with what we know and build our models
in smaller and surer steps.

If you could think of a way to make a model of the processes you discussed
here, including the reoreganizing effects, I would be all ears. But I am
doubtful that you (or anyone) can do that yet. So -- show me I'm wrong.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Kenny Kitzke (2004.06.08)]

<Bill Powers (2004.06.08.0405 MDT)>

<What I see is not mainly a group of people fired with
inspiration by the first new conception of human organization in many
centuries and working in concert to explore and develop it, but a set of
representatives of diverse older points of view who are doing their best to
prevent PCT from making any major alterations in what they know and how
they go about knowing. In principle this may be understandable, but knowing
the people involved I find it astonishing and inexplicable.>

I am wondering what this post is about? Could you describe what variable at what level are you controlling for what reference condition? I guess you have provided clues about what the disturbance is for you.

Then, I would like to know why, with all you know about PCT/HPCT, you would suggest what variables/references/intentions others should have and expect to not get resistance? Plus, you even expound the means they should use in order to control the variables important to them.

You appear to be unable to control successfully and are experiencing conflict. Have you thought about going up a level using an MOL facilitator? Is there something “intrinsic” involved?

I’d like to help. I’d like to see PCT/HPCT applied here for your purpose seems meritorious. But, I have to wonder why you think the action you have taken will alter what others think and do in a way that gets you what you seem to want? Others, including me, are not controlling the same perceptions as you seem to imagine they should.

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.0405 MDT)]

Bill Williams 4 June 2004 9:25 AM CST -
Bruce Nevin (06.03.2004 16:04 EDT) -
Martin Taylor 2004.06.04.17.41 -
and others not so recently, but similarly, involved in dicussing PCT.

I think that the basic ideas behind PCT, with respect to which I am only an
organizer and spokeman, not the inventor, are being lost as those with
other interests struggle to preserve the validity of their own fields of
expertise. I won't say that this is understandable, because my acquaintance
with the membership of the CSG does not offer me any explanations
consistent with what I see as the intelligence and accomplishments of the
people in this group. What I see is not mainly a group of people fired with
inspiration by the first new conception of human organization in many
centuries and working in concert to explore and develop it, but a set of
representatives of diverse older points of view who are doing their best to
prevent PCT from making any major alterations in what they know and how
they go about knowing. In principle this may be understandable, but knowing
the people involved I find it astonishing and inexplicable.

Before any new approach can be used to develop a new field from first
principles, all committment to other approaches must be discarded
completely. Any vestige of loyalty to older ideas, any desire to defend
previous accomplishments, any respect for history or persons or knowledge
or deisciplines with names, must be put aside to the extent humanly and
practically possible. Why? Because such things create biases that blind us
to the real implications of the new idea. If we're always trying to look
ahead to make sure our reasoning isn't going to jeapordize some idea we
consider precious, we will not be able to reason clearly. If we reject
conclusions simply because they differ from received wisdom or our own
beliefs, we will abort lines of reasoning that are perfectly valid. If we
see the new idea mainly as a way of validating, at last, older ideas of our
own that we have had trouble persuading others to accept, we will pick and
choose what suits us and discard what doesn't, and destroy the idea.

Why should anyone who has confidence in some existing bit of knowledge or
reasoning fear discarding it and starting over from a new set of first
principles? If there is anything to the knowledge or reasoning, it will
show up again, only this time supported by a more completely worked-out
system. And if that doesn't happen, we will be much better off than to
continue to preserve ideas without foundations..Research with PCT has much
to teach us, but before that can happen we have to unlearn what we thought
we knew. As I say, if there is anything of value in what we thus discard,
we will get it back in the end, with generous interest. But until we let
go, we will only cripple ourselves and pull the teeth of PCT.

Is PCT a "new approach":or is it a new foundation? If it's only a new
approach, then whatever is useful about it can be absorbed selectively into
older fields where it will become subordinate and disappear among all the
other tools. But if it's a new foundation, then absorbing it selectively
will filter out that which is new and leave only the status quo, unperturbed.

I say that PCT is a new foundation. It is based on methods new to the life
sciences (save for a few pockets of enlightenment) and to apply those
methods requires learning skills new to most life scientists . Computer
modeling using principles worked out by engineers is the furthest advanced
technologically, but its scope is limited by our lack of understanding of
how perceptions are generated in the brain. Other forms of modeling, just
as rigorous, can probably be worked out, but little work on that is
happening now. If we want to use PCT as a set of first principles, we have
to develop the appropriate methodology for building and testing models, and
apply it systematically to build from the known into the unknown.

But first we must free ourselves of committments to older ideas, regardless
of their apparent worth and value. If they really are worth something and
provide some sort of value, they will be back some day. But we have to stop
caring whether that happens, and set foot on the new path without trying to
guess where other trails might have ended up, if anywhere.

I think this is a reasonable and responsible way to conduct a revolution.
We don't have to destroy anything or claim that other ideas are wrong. We
don't have to claim there is nothing of value already on the books. We can
simply assure those who become alarmed that anything of real value will
surface again in its proper place, when developments have gone far enough.
And to those who may doubt the value of many current ideas, we can say that
ideas without justification in first principles will probably submerge for
good, and good riddance.

I think this manifesto will separate the revolutionaries from the
conservatives, so to speak. Anyone who values preserving existing methods
and knowledge more than creating a new discipline is welcome to follow that
path, wherever it leads -- and to do it somewhere else. See you later, if
we arrive at the same place. The rest of us, if that turns out to be
plural, will support, encourage, and pursue the revolution and let the
chips fall where they may. Of course if you want to stay on CSGnet to mount
the defense of things past, the rest of us will go somewhere else.
Bandwidth is bandwidth, whatever it is called.

Whatever the readers of this post may decide, I have chosen my path. Now
all I how to do is stay on it.

Best,

Bill P.

···

-----Original Message-----
From: Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet) on behalf of Bill Powers
Sent: Tue 6/8/2004 7:22 AM
To: CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu
Subject: Bill Powers' way.

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.08.1310)]

Bill Powers (2004.06.08.0405 MDT)--

I think that the basic ideas behind PCT, with respect to which I am
only an
organizer and spokeman, not the inventor, are being lost as those with
other interests struggle to preserve the validity of their own fields
of
expertise.

I still have a few minutes before I leave and I would love to know how
things went in Phoenix. This post makes me think things either went
very well or very poorly. I hope it went well.

Of course, it might be that Phoenix had nothing to do with it. So how
was your visit with Ed and his people?

Best

Rick

···

---
Richard S. Marken
marken@mindreadings.com
Home 310 474-0313
Cell 310 729-1400

[Martin Taylor 2004.06.08.1629]

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.1027 MDT)]

Bill Powers (2004.06.08.0405 MDT)--

Now I ask you, where in this do you find that "the basic ideas behind
PCT are being lost as those with other interests [among whom you
specifically name me] struggle to preserve the validity of their own
fields of expertise."

Where, indeed? Other than in your own imagination and expectations?

Martin, I have the highest regard for your intelligence, your knowledge of
PCT, your skills both scientific and social, and even -- when the rare
example appears -- your modeling. But the discussion in this post is
storytelling, not modeling, and it is concerned with matters that are out
of our reach for now. If you want to speculate about them, that's your
right, but it doesn't do anything to get a new discipline going.

I agree. It's exactly the same level of storytelling as is the
general theory of reorganization, and what works with reorganization
in the individual, by simulation, is likely to work for
reorganization among individuals.

Or are you saying that counter-control is now storytelling?

If you could think of a way to make a model of the processes you discussed
here, including the reoreganizing effects, I would be all ears. But I am
doubtful that you (or anyone) can do that yet. So -- show me I'm wrong.

Rick seems to be making a start. As he says, what he has so far is
very rudimentary, but it shows a way.

I'm not clear why you were all enthusiastic (as was Rick) with my
story in 1993, but now it is a distant speculation not to be
considered unless simulated.

Anyway, that's not the point. You asserted that I was trying hard to
sustain some point of view from outside PCT, in contradistinction to
PCT. I asked you in what way my derivation from the fundamental
principles of PCT contradicted or in any way required alteration in
the accepted nature of PCT. Your answer that my derivation from PCT
is unproven does not explain how you see it as violating standard PCT.

I'd like to know in what way my derivation justifies your saying:
"the basic ideas behind PCT are being lost as those with other
interests [among whom you specifically name me] struggle to preserve
the validity of their own fields of expertise."

Martin

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.1439 MDT)]

Kenny Kitzke (2004.06.08) --

Then, I would like to know why, with all you know about PCT/HPCT, you
would suggest what variables/references/intentions others should have and
expect to not get resistance? Plus, you even expound the means they
should use in order to control the variables important to them.

I stated my view of what is happening on CSGnet and what I intend to do
about it. I invited others with similar views to work with me. If that is a
problem for you, the solution is simple: don't work with me.

You appear to be unable to control successfully and are experiencing
conflict. Have you thought about going up a level using an MOL
facilitator? Is there something "intrinsic" involved?

What's to go up a level about? I am no longer in conflict about what to do,
as I have been,without realizing it, for some years. I feel liberated.

I'd like to help. I'd like to see PCT/HPCT applied here for your purpose
seems meritorious. But, I have to wonder why you think the action you
have taken will alter what others think and do in a way that gets you what
you seem to want? Others, including me, are not controlling the same
perceptions as you seem to imagine they should.

Then don't. That's up to you.

Best.

Bill P.

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.1542 MDT)]

Rick Marken (2004.06.08.1310)

Of course, it might be that Phoenix had nothing to do with [the
manifesto]. So how was your visit with Ed and his people?

Very warm and friendly, with Ed expressing a lot of nostalgia for the early
days of CSG. He and George Venetic assured me that they no longer teach the
use of the phrase, "I see you have chosen dah dah dah." The first day
(Sunday), only two staff people showed up for the get-together at his house
beside George Venetis -- two others had to cancel. We just talked generally
about PCT and RTP.

The Monday meeting started with an introduction to PCT for people from RTP
schools over a wide area Fifteen to twenty people were there. Ed and
George Venetis shared that presentation, then I gave a rather poor talk on
reorganization to finish out the morning. I was pretty unsatisfied with the
whole morning, actually -- what is needed is a very basic outline of a
presentation that systematically relates PCT to RTP. I'm going to work on
that. The audience was sort of numbed after the first presentation. My talk
didn't do anything to help with a recovery. Just couldn't seem to get into
the right gear. From what Ed said in a post this morning, the afternoon
went better, but Mary and I were on the way home by then. I'm resting up
today for the first cataract operation tomorrow. Tight schedule. We drove
home from Phoenix to Durango in 9 hours yesterday.

Again, knock 'em dead in Oxford. Politely.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.1607 MDT)]

Martin Taylor 2004.06.08.1629 --

Or are you saying that counter-control is now storytelling?

Without the rubber-band demo, that's what it would be,

I'm not clear why you were all enthusiastic (as was Rick) with my
story in 1993, but now it is a distant speculation not to be
considered unless simulated.

It looked like a start toward a new kind of modeling. But that's where it
has stayed for 11 years. It's still just an idea.

Anyway, that's not the point. You asserted that I was trying hard to
sustain some point of view from outside PCT, in contradistinction to
PCT. I asked you in what way my derivation from the fundamental
principles of PCT contradicted or in any way required alteration in
the accepted nature of PCT. Your answer that my derivation from PCT
is unproven does not explain how you see it as violating standard PCT.

You offered in rebuttal a few things you have done that are not of the
nature I described, but left out all the things that are: information
theory, ideas about entropy, and quite a few others that are holdovers from
older points of view and work done many years ago. And those are what I was
talking about.

I'd like to know in what way my derivation justifies your saying:
"the basic ideas behind PCT are being lost as those with other
interests [among whom you specifically name me] struggle to preserve
the validity of their own fields of expertise."

Let me know when you're ready to abandon (e.g.) information theory,
entropy, and thought-scenarios and are willing to start developing models
leading from where we now stand to a slightly more advanced position. My
impression is that you wouldn't want to do that. If I'm wrong, wonderful.
Best,

Bill P.

Phil R saying about the manifesto: Hear! Hear!

[Martin Taylor 2004.06.09.16.36]

This Thread started as follows:

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.0405 MDT)]

Bill Williams 4 June 2004 9:25 AM CST -
Bruce Nevin (06.03.2004 16:04 EDT) -
Martin Taylor 2004.06.04.17.41 -
and others not so recently, but similarly, involved in dicussing PCT.

I think that the basic ideas behind PCT, ... are being lost as those with
other interests struggle to preserve the validity of their own fields of
expertise.
...
What I see is not mainly a group of people fired with
inspiration by the first new conception of human organization in many
centuries and working in concert to explore and develop it, but a set of
representatives of diverse older points of view who are doing their best to
prevent PCT from making any major alterations in what they know and how
they go about knowing.

That outburst was all because Bruce and I used the accepted,
basic,Bill-Powers-originated, ideas of PCT to address the development
of cultural artifacts such as language, dialect, and manners. For
some reason, this was construed as inhibiting or subverting the
development of PCT -- losing, rather than using, "the basic ideas
behind PCT".

But now...

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.08.1607 MDT)]

Martin Taylor 2004.06.08.1629 --

I'm not clear why you were all enthusiastic (as was Rick) with my
story in 1993, but now it is a distant speculation not to be
considered unless simulated.

It looked like a start toward a new kind of modeling. But that's where it
has stayed for 11 years. It's still just an idea.

It is at least an idea sufficeintly well specificed that those
skilled in modelling could have examined it in the subsequent 11
years, had they been interested.

Anyway, that's not the point. You asserted that I was trying hard to
sustain some point of view from outside PCT, in contradistinction to
PCT. I asked you in what way my derivation from the fundamental
principles of PCT contradicted or in any way required alteration in
the accepted nature of PCT. Your answer that my derivation from PCT
is unproven does not explain how you see it as violating standard PCT.

You offered in rebuttal a few things you have done that are not of the
nature I described, but left out all the things that are: information
theory, ideas about entropy, and quite a few others that are holdovers from
older points of view and work done many years ago. And those are what I was
talking about.

So, I now understand that what bothers you is not at all what
bothered you in your initial diatribe against Bruce and me. Without
your saying so explicitly, I think you have accepted that I was in
fact not subverting PCT.

Having misfired with your first shot, you bring out a new arrow from
your quiver. Now the problem is the fact that I choose to consider
perceptual control systems as physical entities subject to the usual
laws of physics. And that I dared to propose using conventional tools
to provide different formal viewpoints on the operation of these
physical systems.

I plead guilty to thinking I could treat PCT as if its concepts
applied in the real world.

And, I'm sorry, but if perceptual control systems are to be declared
magical, and not to be subjects to the laws of physics, and if I am
to be prohibited from using normal conceptual and mathematical tools
that apply to physical signal manipulation systems, then I'm afraid I
cannot accept that whatever it is you are defending could be the
foundation of any kind of science, new or not. Magic, outside of
films like Harry Potter, doesn't interest me much.

Let me know when you're ready to abandon (e.g.) information theory,
entropy, and thought-scenarios and are willing to start developing models
leading from where we now stand to a slightly more advanced position. My
impression is that you wouldn't want to do that. If I'm wrong, wonderful.

You are indeed right that I refuse to deny the validity of anything
that applies to physical systems in general, and to signalling
systems in particular. I'm well aware of my deficiency as a modeller.
It would be really nice to be able to model some of the things I
discuss, the way Rick does. I admire him for that, but we all have
different abilities.

Conceptual understanding comes easier for me than modelling, but I
don't think I usually go any further than can reasonably be supported
by the evidence, except when I explicitly label what I say as being
speculation. And I do speculate, because it's really the only way to
spy out new territory. Thought-scenarios were, after all, the way
Einstein discovered most of his world-shattering innovations. The
fact that we aren't all Einstein doesn't mean that thought-scenarios
can't guide us to new discoveries.

Or is the problem the fact that they have?

···

-----------------------

Forgive me for returning personal observation for personal
observation, but it puzzles me as to what kind of perception you are
controlling that was disturbed by evidence that I was _not_ going
beyond the bounds of normal PCT in pointing out how infants and
others can develop a perception of cultural artifacts. What
controlled perception is it that requires me to be an impediment to
PCT, to the extent that when one attack fails, you have to fall back
on something so fundamentally nonsensical as to assert that the fact
I believe normal physical laws apply to perceptual control systems
proves I am not serious about PCT?

For myself, so far as I can see inside myself, I am controlling for a
perception of being seen as trying to look at the implications of
those facets of PCT that are either forced by physical considerations
or so clearly compatible with direct observation as to be taken as
"true." I am not controlling for a perception of being seen as a
"good guy" by anyone in particular, since I'm as likely to argue with
or to agree with anyone on this mailing list, depending on the actual
PCT-relevant content of any particular message. Obviously, my
perception of myself can be wrong, but like any other perception, it
is what it is.

Martin

[From Bill Powers (2004.05.09.1531 MDT)]

Martin Taylor 2004.06.09.16.36 --

I was deluding myself that I could state the course I choose to follow and
give my reasons without arousing protest, defenses, and hostility. Not
possible. In this post, Martin, you basically agree with my observations,
as did Bill Williams in his post this afternoon. Neither of you thinks that
it is either desirable or possible to develop PCT as a new discipline,
abandoning all others and seeing what will happen if we begin again with
new premises. The reasons you both give for this make complete sense to you
Neither of you wants to give up what you have created or come to agree with
over the years, and who am I to say you should?

All I can say is that I do not believe it is possible to see how PCT, or
more simply negative feedback control theory, will apply to understanding
human nature as long as it competes with ideas developed without any
understanding of those principles. You may be able to find a way; I know
only that I can't do it without starting from the simple and working from
there one step at a time. I may not get far if nobody else wants to take
the plunge. But that's the only course that makes any sense to me.

Bill Williams, poor fool, can't see that as a matter of principle I
defended my father's works against Williams's ignorant attacks. He can't
see that my approach to a PCT economics is as antithetical to my father's
methods and ideas as it is to those of the conventional economists Williams
criticizes -- as well as others like Keynes whom he admires. You, who are
not any brand of fool, are simply not interested in the nuts-and-bolts
details tbat are required for creating good models, and you don't seem to
realize that it is precisely this lack of interest that puts us on
divergent paths. I'm not asking you to adopt a different set of values --
I'm just explaining why I can't work with yours.

We seem to be coming to a parting of the ways. I don't know how serious it
is. Maybe when the smoke clears we will each have a clearer understanding
of the others in this imbroglio, and perhaps we can work together where
possible and ignore each other where it's impossible. But maybe we are
coming to a point where the effort to sustain the illusion of a common
interest is starting to cost more than the results are worth.

As far as I'm concerned, I have stated my case and now I want to go to work
doing what I claim I want to do. Working with Bill Williams on his modeling
seems like moving in the right direction, as long as he sees he has
something to learn from it (but not in his present frame of mind). Of
course I will work with our other modelers here and overseas, I have
projects of my own. I continue to work with both IAACT and RTP people to
introduce simple basic PCT principles into their programs (funny how I'm
still cooperating with all those people I have "driven away"). I will get
much farther with my work if I give up on trying to merge it into other
people's conceptions of what it means.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Kenny Kitzke (2004.06.10)]

<Bill Powers (2004.06.08.1439 MDT)>

<I stated my view of what is happening on CSGnet and what I intend to do about it. I invited others with similar views to work with me. If that is a
problem for you, the solution is simple: don’t work with me.>

This seems strangely arrogant coming from you and out of character. I hope you “reorganize” quickly. Do you suspect your ultimatum will bring a hoard of people forward to work with you on your revolution? Are you amenable to having others (including me) set forth the criteria for you to work with them? Sometimes revolutions thrive on mutual goals and cooperation. I take it you perceive that your revolution is not fairing well?

<What’s to go up a level about? I am no longer in conflict about what to do, as I have been, without realizing it, for some years. I feel liberated.>

Good for you. Unfortunately, others might now feel chided and less willing to try to work with you. Liberating yourself from the goals and concerns of others can can produce isolation and lonliness. Time will tell, I suppose, how your liberation will affect your revolution. Based upon the progress the past 30 years, pehaps any new approach by you can garner greater results?

I’d like to help. I’d like to see PCT/HPCT applied here for your purpose
seems meritorious. But, I have to wonder why you think the action you
have taken will alter what others think and do in a way that gets you what
you seem to want? Others, including me, are not controlling the same
perceptions as you seem to imagine they should.

<Then don’t. That’s up to you.>

Many of my friends would call this “a blinding glimpse of the obvious.” And, that includes some who have not the benefit of your foundational PCT principles.

I intend to extend the PCT revolution (tiny as it is thus far) whether you choose to work with me or not. No strings attached.

Am I a fool too for behaving this way?

From[Bill Williams 10 May 2004 11:10 AM CST]

[From Kenny Kitzke (2004.06.10)]

<Bill Powers (2004.06.08.1439 MDT)>

<I stated my view of what is happening on CSGnet and what I intend to do

about it. I invited others with similar views to work with me. If that is a
problem for you, the solution is simple: don't work with me.>

This seems strangely arrogant coming from you and out of character.

From Bill Powers' perspective I am sure he doesn't _perceive_ this as as you say "arrogance." Rather, it is a result of his conviction that he has identified the correct principles, and now the important thing is getting on with applying "the correct principles." So, I am sure that he doesn't see this as an issue that in anyway involves personal issues such as "arrogance."

This isn't to say that Bill Powers from time to time doesn't disply a genuine arrogance when he offers _ex catherdra_ opinions on matters which he knows next to nothing about-- such as the worth of Keynes work. But this is, I think, another issue.

I don't intend this as I told you sort of gloating, but I suggested to Bill Powers more than a decade ago, that he might find it advantageous to spend more time working with people who already understood control theory to at least some extent, and less time attempting to teach control theory to people who were slightly interested in control theory but inclined to resist a whole hearted adoption of control theory. Now, Bill Powers seems to be poised to adopt such a strategy. I find it a bit excentric that when he is poised to do so he is doing so in a context that Martin Taylor, Bruce Nevin, and myself are being catogorized as being enemies who are resisting control theory ( under the house brand name of PCT ) because we unable, unwilling, or for other reasons unfit to be part of "the revolution."

Kenny, you say,

Good for you.

that Bill Powers feels he has liberated himself from the constraints he has felt in the past of having to work with people who were really his enemies. Of, course if from Bill Powers' standpoint disagreement amounts to being an enemy, then by adopting such an attitude he has also "liberated" him self from
any context in which discussion and criticism can have a role. And, of coure, if he feels that the criticism is not helpful, then this is a completely rational decision.

And, Kenny says,

Unfortunately, others might now feel chided and less willing to try to work > with you.

After knowing Bill Powers for a couple of decades, I don't take some of his opinons that seriously anymore. He can call me "garbage" and a "poor fool" and send me private posts telling me that I disgust him. It did surprize me a couple of years ago when I noticed that he was employing what seemed on the surface to be techinical discussion, or rather what was technical instruction regarding programing methods as a surreptitious way of making the same points. I found this rather extremely appalling. I think this mis-use of technique for personal ends is unethical. And, it links up with similiar practices that orthodox economists used for years-- such as their saying that if you can not do higher math you have no right to say anything about economic issues. So, this sort of issue isn't by any means new. All that has changed is that as a result of recent posts it is far, far more apparent than it has been inthe past that Bill Powers will resort to such a tactic. As far as I am concerned, however, nothing has changed. Bill Powers will resort to any means availible to gain the appearance of winning an argument. And, if it looks as if he is losing, he will behave badly. And, this can be disconcerting. But, I've had some fun observing how Powers conducts and argument, and then "mirroring" his strategy. To some extent I think he may have caught on, that when he deals with me, the stuff he dishes out come right back at him in a postive-feed back loop. It isn't really all that hard to do if you decide to set aside some inhibitions. And, Bill Powers being smart eventually figures out, more or less that his behavior, when I mirror it, is creating this enourmous joke. But, he still doesn't seem to entirely get it. He mistakenly thinks that I am hostile-- which really isn't the case. Instead I view my motivation in terms of creating a situation in which Bill Powers can re-organize his approach to our discussions. And, Bill Powers does seem to be re-organizing. Whether he is going to re-organize in a productive way, wel
way he describes what he plans to do looks to me as if it amounts to cutting the feedback looops to a wider reality-- represented by Martin Taylor, Bruce Nevin and myself. But, Bill Powers doesn't apparently see it this way-- for now. looks to me that he is taking an issolationist path. And, it looks to me like a path without a likely supply of needed resources. But, who knows? My own, NSHO (not so humble opinion) is that he may find it boring.

Bill Williams

[From Michelle Ivers (2004.06.12 1400 EST)]

From Bill Powers (2004.05.09.1531 MDT)

I continue to work with both IAACT and RTP people to
introduce simple basic PCT principles into their programs (funny how I’m
still cooperating with all those people I have “driven away”). I will get
much farther with my work if I give up on trying to merge it into other
people’s conceptions of what it means.

I’d like to discuss seriously the introduction of simple basic PCT principles into RTP.

Is it ‘PCT Correct’ to say “each of us in endowed with a fascinating perceptual control system”?

Can you explain to me how this statement fits with PCT? “ultimately there is a highest level where each of us stands as our own person - where ‘I am the captain of my own ship’” At what level would we NOT be the ‘captain of our own ship’??

In using the RTP, can you tell me how asking kids questions MAKES them look within themselves and decide how they want to be? What does it mean to “look within themselves and decide how they want to be”? I can think of any number of kids who actually do want to be talking to their friends rather than doing the work set out for them.

In his latest book, Ed Ford says that when students are in the RTC they “ask permission to get a plan, return to their desks, and begin to struggle within themselves. [snip] This time is essential to students not only for dealing with their current situations, but also as a learning experience for future use. It is a time in which they undergo the process of reorganisation, something all of us experience at various times in our lives.”

I’m not sure that the exercise of going to the RTC is what brings about reorganisation. I’m equally unsure of the notion that every child who goes through the RTC reorganises.? I thought the process of reorganisation occurred after experiencing persistent error? I would have thought then that error would only occur for some children who attend RTC rather than every child? Am I missing something here?

Another part says “They have to be allowed to reorganise in their own time and at their own speed. The RTC teacher certainly cannot reorganise for them, and she must see evidence of their struggles BEFORE offering them help. It must always be kept in mind that for all individuals, real change takes place as they struggle alone within themselves.”

What sort of evidence would you see of a struggle within someone else? Who says that the process of reorganisation is a struggle or painful etc? (I’m not saying that it isn’t this way for everyone, I’m questioning though, whether this description is accurate for all children in schools today?)

This is also in the book. “so asking a person “what are you doing?” requires that the person move to a different point of view to describe what he or she is trying to do. And because of the hierarchical arrangement of control systems in the brain, the person must shift to a higher-level point of view in order to answer the question.”

I’m not sure I understand how asking someone a question requires them to do anything. ? I know of a lot of kids who can answer the question without even drawing breath from the conversation they are engaged in. How many of those kids are shifting to a higher-level?

Any answers would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Michelle

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.12.0418)]

Michelle Ivers (2004.06.12 1400 EST

···

I’d like to discuss
seriously the introduction of simple basic PCT principles into RTP.

Is it ‘PCT Correct’ to say “each of us in
endowed with a fascinating perceptual control
system”?

(etc.)

Everyone has to begin somewhere. If you aren’t willing to work with
people who are not technically inclined, if you require that every word
they utter be correctly understood and used with its full technical
meaning, you’re not going to teach people much of anything. Ed Ford has
worked hard for 20 years, more than 20 years, to grasp the meaning of
control theory and translate it into terms that his followers can accept
and understand. He is the first to admit that this is difficult for him.
I am trying to make it less difficult.

I’m sure you can see, in the writings you cite, evidence of older points
of view. I might point out that this is also true in the writings of
highly intelligent academics who are trying to work control theory into
their own world views, and they don’t necessarily grasp the full
technical meaning of PCT, either, if they know anything at all about it.
I was complaining just the other day that I see evidence of older points
of view even in the writings of people right here on CSGnet who grasp the
technical details of PCT as well as anyone does. One expects more of some
people than of others, of course, but there is also the matter of stages
of learning. I am much more sympathetic with people at an early stage of
learning who are willing to put out the effort to learn more, than with
people who feel they have already learned enough (not that anyone has
actually said that).

None of this refers to you – I don’t know where you stand. If you have
suggestions about RTP, or how PCT might better be taught and used in such
contexts, I’d be glad to hear them, especially since I am considering
writing a sort of beginner’s handbook of PCT that might be used both in
RTP and by the IAACT people. Just remember that you will be trying to
communicate with people whose strongest beliefs are religious and/or
cultural, not scientific, technical, or philosophical. You are not going
to convert them into engineers.

The main points of RTP that I consider “PCT-correct” as you put
it are these:

  1. Students and adults are human beings who operate in the same basic
    ways, not members of different species.

  2. All human beings are control systems who act in order to control their
    own perceptions of the world.

  3. The best way to deal with people is to recognize and respect their
    autonomy, and to realize that you can’t find out what they are
    controlling for without observing and asking questions.

  4. Conflict between people is destructive and is to be avoided when
    possible.

  5. Teachers want to teach; most students want to learn. Those who disrupt
    this process should work out their problems in a place where they do not
    violate the autonomy of others.

  6. Children (as well as adults) need to learn how to live with the rules
    that are in effect where they find themselves.

  7. Children need to be taught and consulted about the need for rules, and
    about the specific rules that will apply to them. This is largely a
    matter of learning to make and live up to social agreements (rules and
    principles).

  8. Children (as well as adults) operate at many levels.

  9. Reorganization happens when things are going badly; it is to be
    welcomed, not cut short by misplaced “help.”.

I’m sure there are other acceptable concepts, too. I choose to hear the
principles and methods of RTP (and IAACT) as approximations to these ways
of stating things, approximations that can, with work, become more
precise. If there are aspects of RTP with which I take issue, I try to
take issue indirectly and by teaching principles that, if understood,
will do the teaching for me.

In almost 20 years of working with the people now running IAACT, I have
been successful in persuading them (like the RTP people) to give up many
of the teachings of Glasser and substitute ideas more in line with PCT.
Just in the past two years, these people have finally decided that
Glasser’s Five Needs (or as Tom Bourbon says, is it four, or six?) are
really not very useful, and have stopped teaching about them. Ed Ford and
George Venetis were anxious to let me know that they have stopped using
the construction “I see you have chosen…”, not because I
objected but because they realized how often it was a false claim. They
now recognize and teach (as they explained to me last week) that the
actions a person uses in controlling can have unintended side-effects,
among them being classroon disruptions. Therefore it is not automatically
assumed that when a child does something disruptive, the intent was to
disrupt. This has greatly reduced the unintended punitive aspects of
RTP.

As I said in my introduction to Ed’s latest book, RTP keeps learning from
its mistakes and keeps advancing, I intend to keep helping that
process.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Michelle Ivers (2004.06.14 1800 EST)]

From Bill Powers (2004.06.12.0418)

Ed Ford has worked hard for 20 years, more than 20 years, to grasp the meaning of control theory and translate it into terms that his followers can accept and understand. He is the first to admit that this is difficult for him. I am trying to make it less difficult.

I would have thought that after more than 20 years he would have found a better way of writing it than “each of us is endowed with a fascinating perceptual control system”. IF you are happy with this definition Bill, then that’s great.

I’m sure you can see, in the writings you cite, evidence of older points of view.

Are you telling me that the stuff Ed Ford is writing now is a ‘new’ point of view on PCT?

I am much more sympathetic with people at an early stage of learning who are willing to put out the effort to learn more, than with people who feel they have already learned enough (not that anyone has actually said that).

Does that include Ed Ford (over 20 years = early stage of learning???)

None of this refers to you – I don’t know where you stand. If you have suggestions about RTP, or how PCT might better be taught and used in such contexts, I’d be glad to hear them, especially since I am considering writing a sort of beginner’s handbook of PCT that might be used both in RTP and by the IAACT people. Just remember that you will be trying to communicate with people whose strongest beliefs are religious and/or cultural, not scientific, technical, or philosophical. You are not going to convert them into engineers.

From your response Bill, it appears that you are not ready to work with me on this topic. By all means, let me know when you are.

As a new view on PCT, I’d just like to say that I’m really glad my questions of you have made you look within yourself from a higher level, where you are the captain of your own ship, so you can struggle alone for a while now and reorganise.

Best

Michelle

From[Bill Williams 14 May 2004 1O.12 AM CST]

[From Michelle Ivers (2004.06.14 1800 EST)]

From Bill Powers (2004.06.12.0418)

I am much more sympathetic with people at an early stage of learning who are > willing to put out the effort to learn more, than with people who feel they > have already learned enough (not that anyone has actually said that).

Michelle, thanks for focusing my attention on this bit. Here we have an example of Bill Powers approach to inquiry from a guy who is upside down in a ditch telling folks standing on the road that he would rather do "my way."
Because a few of us find fault with Bill Powers cracker barrel sophistological arguments for individualism we get to listen, if we wish to this complain about what he admits that "not that anyone has actually said that." Bill goes Rick one better. Of course Rick never actually said that you were an "ignorant slut." And, as Bill Powers says, "not that anyone has actually said that." Still we get this grumbling about people who have "already learned enough."
This from a guy, who starts by declaring that it would be better to wait until he has got it all figured out rather than attempt to learn anything from anyone other than Bill Powers. That is really what the really real issue here is all about.

Given another two or three centuries and I am sure Bill Powers could look deep within the bowels of his ship and get his sophistology straightened out, til then maybe best hold your questions until you given more time to a close study of Ed's newest book.

Bill Williams